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Patient with diabetes: ‘Continuous glucose monitor saved my life’

Patient with diabetes: ‘Continuous glucose monitor saved my life’

A Bedford Indiana resident is feeling more secure now that he is more closely monitoring his blood sugar levels.

By TJ Banes, IU Health Senior Journalist,

For 51 years, Bruce Thompson has poked his finger for blood samples; checked his blood sugar levels through urine specimens, and injected himself with insulin.

“I’ve been giving myself shots since I was 4 years old. I had a time when I was 17 or 18 when my blood sugar went up about 800 and I thought I’d die,” said Thompson, who retired as a high voltage electrician.

“Growing up I prided myself on being fairly independent but you never knew what was going to happen when you were dealing with diabetes,” said Thompson.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and Thompson is speaking out on his diagnosis of Type I and his focus on regulating his blood sugar.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 37.3 million people are living with diabetes - that is 28.7 million people who have been diagnosed, including 28.5 million adults, and 8.5 million people who are undiagnosed. Another 96 million people age 18 and older have pre-prediabetes. Of adults 65 and older 26.4 million people have prediabetes.

Risks for getting Type II diabetes include tobacco use, obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Diabetes has a strong prevalence in Indiana―with 13 percent of Hoosiers already diagnosed and an estimated 40,000-plus new cases per year.

Thompson recently became a candidate for the “Continuous Glucose Monitor” (CGM). The system tracks blood sugar levels around the clock by using a small sensor inserted under the skin. The sensor sends a signal to an app that monitors the blood sugar levels.

“When I first met Dr. AlaaEldin Alhessi he said I was a good candidate for the continuous glucose monitor. I’ve had it for a month and it’s a godsend. It is connected to my Smartphone and if the sugar is low it lets me know and if it’s high it lets me know. It’s kept me in range most of the time,” said Thompson.

If Thompson’s blood sugar levels were out of line, the CGM device will trigger an alert.

He no longer works at his full-time job but enjoys spending time on his family farm with is Dutch Shepherd named, “Duke.” He also likes listening to true crime podcasts.

“I never was one who dwelled on being a diabetic; it was my way of life,” said Thompson. “I have to say now I have a peace of mind and feel safer with this new device. I drive my dad to the doctor and I don’t feel like I have to pack all the extra things with me to monitor my condition and I feel safer caring for both of my parents.”

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